With Biden In Toledo, Lordstown Auto Workers Denounce Josh Mandel For Opposition To Auto Rescue

Like Romney, Santorum, Josh Mandel Would Have Voted To Let Auto Industry Die, Risking Nearly 850,000 Ohio Jobs

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO – Today Ohio Democrats and Lordstown Auto Workers held a press conference to denounce “Treasurer” Josh Mandel for his opposition to the auto rescue championed by Senator Sherrod Brown that saved the American automobile industry from collapse.

From Mahoning Valley Democratic Party Headquarters, Mahoning County Democratic Party Executive Vice Chair Ken Carano, State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Canfield), State Representative Ron Gerberry (D-Youngstown), State Representative Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown) and Elizabeth Williams, a worker at GM’s Lordstown auto plant who joined Senator Brown at this year’s State of the Union, decried Josh Mandel for opposing critical investments that saved the auto industry with nearly 850,000 Ohio jobs in the balance.

Below are excerpts from their prepared remarks:

“We still don’t know which Republican presidential hopeful will appear on the Ohio ballot this November, but our Super Tuesday primary made one thing totally clear – by nominating Josh Mandel in the race to take on Senator Sherrod Brown, Ohio Republicans have ensured that the top TWO Republicans leading their ticket here in Ohio are folks that opposed critical investments championed by Senator Sherrod Brown that saved the American automobile industry from collapse,” said Representative Ron Gerberry. “Like Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, Josh Mandel would have voted to let the auto industry die, putting nearly 850,000 good, middle class jobs tied to the industry in jeopardy.”

Senator Joe Schiavoni pointed to GM’s Lordstown plant, which builds the best-selling Chevy Cruze, as evidence that the auto rescue was an inarguable success.

“Three years ago, facing the looming threat of bankruptcy, GM was forced to cut shifts down to one. Thanks to the auto rescue Senator Brown championed, the plant has more than doubled its workforce, from 2,000 to 4,500 workers, working three shifts around the clock to keep up with demand for the best-selling Chevy Cruze that’s built right here in the Mahoning Valley,” he said, adding that, “It’s a testament to the fine workers here, the product that they build and folks like Senator Brown who stood and fought to save good, middle class jobs that GM has reclaimed its title as the world’s best-selling auto manufacturer.”

Elizabeth Williams, a single mother of two who has worked at GM since 1994, spoke personally about being laid off when GM and Chrysler faced the possibility of bankruptcy.

“To politicians like Josh Mandel, I was a statistic, a political pawn used to score cheap political points against Democrats like Senator Brown who were fighting to save our jobs when it wasn’t popular. Josh Mandel would have voted to let the auto industry die, leaving workers like myself with nowhere to turn,” Williams said. “Senator Sherrod Brown chose a different path. He fought – to save GM and Chrysler, help them to reopen plants and put people like myself back to work building great American cars.”

Williams continued, “Today, I am thrilled to be back at work for General Motors building the best-selling Chevy Cruze and I am thankful for champions like Senator Brown who care about our jobs and our industry, and had our backs when we needed it the most.”

Williams attended this year’s State of the Union speech in Washington D.C. as a guest of Senator Brown.

BACKGROUND

Almost 850,000 Jobs In Ohio Are Supported By The Auto Industry.  According to the Center for Automotive Research, there are 848,304 jobs in Ohio supported by the auto industry.  [Center for Automotive Research - Industry Contribution Report, April 2010, pg. 48]

Mandel Said He Was Developing A Plan To Save The Auto Rescue.  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said he is developing a plan to ‘rescue the auto industry.'” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]

  • Mandel: “I’m Not Saying The Bailout Didn’t Work.”  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “‘I’m not saying the bailout didn’t work,’ Mandel said.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]
  • Next Sentence: Mandel Disagreed That Auto Rescue Save The Auto Industry.  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “But Mandel said he ‘respectfully disagreed’ that it saved the American auto industry.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]

Since 2009 Lordstown Plant Has More Than Doubled Their Workforce In Order To Keep Up With Demand.  In 2009 General Motors reduced the shifts at the Lordstown Auto Plant from three shifts to one when auto sales plummeted.  Today the plant staffs 4,500 employees, up from 2,000, working three shifts around the clock to keep up with the demand of the Chevy Cruze.  [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 08/31/11; Cleveland Plain Dealer, 02/23/10]

September 2011: The Chevy Cruze Built In Ohio Was The #1 Selling Compact Car in America For Five Straight Months And Was The Top Selling Car Of Any Size In June 2011.  In September 2011, the Plain Dealer reported “Most of the workers at General Motors’ Lordstown plant had never worked on a best-selling car until this year.  The Chevrolet Cruze has been the No. 1 compact car in the country for the past five months. It was the top-selling car of any size in June.” [Plain Dealer, 9/7/11]

January 2012:  General Motors Becomes Top-Selling Global Automaker For First Time Since 2008.  In January 2012, the Associated Press reported “General Motors Co. has retaken the title of world’s top-selling automaker, selling just over 9 million cars and trucks across the globe.  The company said Thursday that it sold 9.03 million vehicles worldwide last year, up 7.6 percent from 2010. That’s more than 1 million better than Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp., which took the title away from GM in 2008.” [Associated Press, 1/19/12]

Bahamas: 1, Board of Deposit: 0

After Blowing Off All 14 Board Of Deposit Meetings, Absentee “Treasurer” Josh Mandel Ignores His Job To Raise Cash In The Bahamas

COLUMBUS, OHIO – A stunning report in yesterday’s Plain Dealer revealed that last Friday our absentee Treasurer Josh Mandel was once again not doing his job on behalf of Ohio tax-payers so he could jet out to — wait for it — the Bahamas. For a fundraiser. Seriously.

From the Plain Dealer:

“Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, already criticized by Democrats for missing official state meetings, flew to the Bahamas last Friday…”

“Mandel held a fund-raiser for his U.S. Senate election campaign while at the Bahamas resort, a spokesman acknowledged when the newspaper asked.”

“…His weekday trip to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas is certain to stoke Democratic Party charges that the short-time treasurer has ignored his job.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Josh has been caught red-handed neglecting his duties as treasurer. Last August the Plain Dealer reported that “within a month of becoming Ohio’s treasurer, Josh Mandel started traveling away from the state — to New York, Utah, Washington, D.C.” Weeks later, money began rolling into his Senate campaign from those exact locations.

And Josh is the first treasurer of the modern era to have skipped every single meeting of the billion-dollar Board of Deposit he is supposed to chair. Mandel’s neglect of responsibilities as a public servant  led the Plain Dealer to editorialize that Josh Mandel “puts election to higher office above every other consideration” and the Associated Press to report that Josh Mandel is “focused on politics.”

As of now, Josh Mandel’s whereabouts for 12 of the 14 Board of Deposit meetings remain totally unaccounted for and he has refused to explain the absences.

“Since launching his Senate campaign from the treasurer’s office just weeks after his swearing in, Josh Mandel has made it clear he has zero interest in fulfilling his responsibilities as a public servant or doing his job on behalf of Ohio taxpayers,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Andrew Zucker. “That Josh has time to jet off to the Bahamas for a fundraiser after skipping every meeting of the billion-dollar Board of Deposit is further evidence that Mandel would rather do anything in pursuit of his next job than keep his promise to the voters who elected him Treasurer.”

BACKGROUND

Friday, March 9th:  Josh Mandel Flew To The Bahamas For A Fundraiser.  In March 2012, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, already criticized by Democrats for missing official state meetings, flew to the Bahamas last Friday to give a speech to the payday lending industry, The Plain Dealer has confirmed. Mandel held a fund-raiser for his U.S. Senate election campaign while at the Bahamas resort, a spokesman acknowledged when the newspaper asked.”  [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 03/13/12]

Mandel “Began Traveling Widely To Raise Money” Just Months After Being Sworn In As Treasurer.  In March 2012, The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported “Months after taking his seat as Ohio’s treasurer in January 2011, he began traveling widely to raise money — $5.8 million so far, records show — for his Senate campaign. He is expected to have one of the deepest campaign chests of any Senate challenger this year.”  [Cleveland Plain Dealer,03/13/12]

Mandel Missed His 14th Consecutive State Board Of Deposit Meeting, And He’s Just Fine With That.  In February 2012, The Columbus Dispatch reported “State Treasurer Josh Mandel missed his 14th consecutive Ohio Board of Deposit meeting yesterday — and he’s just fine with that.  Mandel has skipped every monthly meeting of the board, of which he is chairman, since becoming treasurer in January last year. Instead, as in the past, he sent a designee, Seth Metcalf, the agency’s chief financial officer.”  [Columbus Dispatch, 02/24/12]

Mandel Scheduled A Fundraiser In D.C. For Two Hours Before A State Board Of Deposit Meeting In Columbus.  In January 2012, Politico reported that they had “obtained an invitation for a D.C. fundraiser on behalf of Mandel set for Thursday morning — just two hours before the next scheduled board of deposit meeting in Columbus.”  [Politico.com, 01/25/12]

Headline:  Josh Mandel, Ohio Treasurer And Senate Candidate, Skipped Board Meetings For No Known Reason. [Huffington Post, 02/24/12]

  • Mandel’s Schedule Barely Acknowledged Board of Deposit Responsibilities.  In February 2012, The Huffington Post reported “Josh Mandel, the Republican Ohio treasurer looking to move up to the Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, appears to have skipped meetings of the state Board of Deposit for mysterious reasons.” Huffington Post continued, “According to the records, Mandel had nothing on his schedule on five different occasions when the board met. On two other occasions, Mandel blocked out time for the meeting, but a Democratic source said that the board’s minutes show Mandel did not attend. On four other days, Mandel’s schedule says he met with staffers at the time of the board meeting, but the staffers actually were at the meetings, not with Mandel, according to the minutes.  One time Mandel did a radio interview instead of attending the board meeting, and last month he went to a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., instead of presiding over the meeting. This past Thursday, he did not attend for unknown reasons, but traveled to another part of the state later in the day to meet with business leaders, according to the Columbus Dispatch.” [Huffington Post, 02/24/12]

Ohio Democratic Party Statement on State Representative Weddington’s Resignation

COLUMBUS – Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern issued the following statement today regarding Columbus state Rep. W. Carlton Weddington’s decision to resign his legislative seat:

“In order to restore much needed trust in our elected officials, we cannot abide wrongdoing by Republicans or Democrats. Elected officials must serve their constituents and place them first before their own careers and personal reward.

“We are disheartened by the news that Rep. Weddington, a fine public servant in so many ways, is resigning. We must now let justice run its course with the understanding that each person is considered innocent until proven guilty.

“Let this be a cautionary tale for all public servants. Citizens demand and deserve our undivided attention to address their need for good paying jobs, quality healthcare, affordable higher education, Social Security and Medicare.

“The vast, overwhelming majority of Democratic elected officials and candidates go to work each day and toil on behalf of their constituents. So while we are saddened by the alleged misconduct of Rep. Weddington, we cannot let one story of a fallen public servant distract us from our mission to stand up for working families and our pledge to fight to build a stronger middle class.”

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Toledo Auto Workers Denounce Josh Mandel For Opposing Auto Rescue With Nearly 850,000 Ohio Jobs In Balance

Like Both Republican Presidential Hopefuls, Josh Mandel Would Have Voted To Let Auto Industry Die

TOLEDO, OHIO – Today current and retired auto workers held a press conference to denounce absentee Treasurer Josh Mandel for his opposition to critical investments  championed by Senator Sherrod Brown that saved the American automobile industry.

From Lucas County Democratic Party Headquarters, Lucas County Democratic Party Chairman and retired auto worker Ron Rothenbuhler, Lucas County Commissioner and retired auto worker Pete Gerken, UAW Local 12 President Bruce Baumhower and Corey Fletcher, a single mother and employee at the Toledo Assembly Complex, condemned Mandel, who would have voted against the auto rescue despite the nearly 850,000 Ohio jobs tied to the auto industry.

“Though it remains to be seen which Republican presidential hopeful will appear on the ballot this November, Tuesday’s primary election made one thing crystal clear – by nominating Josh Mandel in the race to take on Senator Sherrod Brown Ohio Republicans have ensured that the top two candidates leading the Republican ticket here in Ohio are individuals that opposed critical investments championed by Senator Sherrod Brown that saved the American automobile industry,” Lucas County Democratic Party Chairman  Rothenbuhler said.

He continued, “Now that’s he has won the nomination, Ohioans want answers. Now that he’s the Republican nominee, Ohioans expect Josh Mandel to explain why 850,000 Ohio jobs tied to the auto industry weren’t worth fighting for.”

Corey Fletcher, a single mother who has worked for Chrysler at the Toledo Assembly Complex since 1997, recalled losing her job when Chrysler and General Motors faced the looming threat of bankruptcy.

“For 10 months I was out of the job. I remember how frightening it was, wondering how I would pay my bills, whether I would lose my home and how I would put my son through Barber School,” Fletcher said. “To politicians like Josh Mandel, I was a number on a sheet of paper – a statistic flashing across the TV screen. While Josh Mandel would have voted against the auto rescue, Senator Sherrod Brown fought to save our jobs – to save Chrysler and General Motors, help reopen plants and allow them to rehire workers like myself who had given decades to jobs that they loved.”

Fletcher continued, “Today I’m proud to be back at work for Chrysler, proud to work on the production line that builds the Jeep Wrangler and proud of champions like Senator Brown who had Ohio workers’ backs when we needed it the most.”

BACKGROUND

Almost 850,000 Jobs In Ohio Are Supported By The Auto Industry.  According to the Center for Automotive Research, there are 848,304 jobs in Ohio supported by the auto industry.  [Center for Automotive Research - Industry Contribution Report, April 2010, pg. 48]

Mandel Said He Was Developing A Plan To Save The Auto Rescue.  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said he is developing a plan to ‘rescue the auto industry.'” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]

  • Mandel: “I’m Not Saying The Bailout Didn’t Work.”  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “‘I’m not saying the bailout didn’t work,’ Mandel said.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]
  • Next Sentence: Mandel Disagreed That Auto Rescue Saved The Auto Industry.  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “But Mandel said he ‘respectfully disagreed’ that it saved the American auto industry.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]

May 2011: GM Announced Plans To Hire 400 Workers In Toledo. In May 2011, The Columbus Dispatch wrote “General Motors has announced that it will spend $260 million and add 400 workers to its Toledo facility that builds transmissions. In April, General Motors sold 25,000 Chevrolet Cruzes, which are built at the Lordstown plant near Youngstown.”  [Columbus Dispatch, 05/27/11]

Chrysler Announced Plans To Add More Than 1,100 Jobs To Toledo Assembly Complex.  In August 2011, The Toledo Blade reported “Chrysler Group LLC plans to invest at least $365 million to expand and improve its Toledo Assembly complex, adding a second shift with 1,105 new jobs to the plant that currently builds the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro SUVs, The Blade has learned.”  [Toledo Blade, 08/11/11]

February 2010: GM Restarted A Third Shift At The Lordstown, OH Complex, Adding 1,200 Workers. “General Motors’ decision to restart a third shift at its Lordstown complex, taking on 1,200 more workers, is about more than simple product planning. It is a leap of faith for the company that came dangerously close to disappearing last year.” [Plain Dealer, 2/23/10]

Ford Announced Relocation Of Truck Assembly Operation From Mexico To Lorain County.  In March 2012 The Toledo Blade wrote “Ford Motor Co. announced Tuesday it will move a truck-assembly operation from Mexico to Lorain County in 2013, saving 1,400 jobs.”  [Toledo Blade, 03/09/12]

  • Relocation Will Save 1,400 Jobs.  In March 2012 The Toledo Blade wrote “Ford Motor Co. announced Tuesday it will move a truck-assembly operation from Mexico to Lorain County in 2013, saving 1,400 jobs.”  [Toledo Blade, 03/09/12]

With Mandel’s Anti-Auto Rescue Buddy Marco Rubio In Town, Does Josh Agree Social Security & Medicare “Weakened Us As A People?”

Tea Party Senator Marco Rubio To Raise Money For Mandel In D.C. And Ohio Over Next Few Days

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Today “Treasurer” Josh Mandel will continue ignoring his responsibilities to Ohio taxpayers by not doing his job and instead welcome his Senate Idol Marco Rubio to town. Rubio, like Mandel, would have voted to let Ohio’s auto industry die despite the nearly 850,000 Ohio jobs that would have been in jeopardy. Unfortunately for Ohio voters, that’s not all they have in common.

While both have pledged to support an extreme Tea-Party budget proposal that “would inexorably subject Social Security and Medicare to deep reductions,” Marco Rubio has stepped even further outside the mainstream, declaring that the landmark programs have “weakened us as a people.”

Does Josh Mandel agree with Sen. Rubio that Social Security and Medicare have “weakened us as a people” and is that why Mandel supports GOP attempts to devastate both programs?

Nearly 850,000 Ohioans have jobs tied to the auto industry and millions more rely on Social Security and Medicare. It’s time for Josh Mandel to finally explain his anti-middle class agenda.

“Marco Rubio would have voted to let Ohio’s auto industry die and believes Social Security and Medicare have ‘weakened us as a people,’ so it’s no surprise that he’s in town raising cash for his good buddy Josh Mandel who agrees that the auto industry shouldn’t have been saved and supports gutting important protections for our seniors,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Andrew Zucker. “Now that he’s the nominee Josh Mandel should finally explain why he thinks 850,000 Ohio jobs tied to the auto industry weren’t worth fighting for and why he supports making devastating cuts to Social Security and Medicare.'”

BACKGROUND

Almost 850,000 Jobs In Ohio Are Supported By The Auto Industry.  According to the Center for Automotive Research, there are 848,304 jobs in Ohio supported by the auto industry.  [Center for Automotive Research - Industry Contribution Report, April 2010, pg. 48]

Marco Rubio On The Auto Rescue:  “The Jobs Will Be Gone And We’ll Still Owe The Money.”  In May 2009, American Spectator reported “Rubio was critical of the recent automaker bailouts, saying ‘The jobs will be gone and we’ll still owe the money.  Washington should just get out of the way.’”  [American Spectator, 05/19/09]

Rubio Said Social Security and Medicare “Weakened Us As A People.”  In August 2011, Politifact reported “Sen. Marco Rubio, in a recent speech from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, said Social Security and Medicare “weakened us as a people.” [Politifact, 8/25/11]

Sen. Rubio Voted For Republican Budget Plan With “Significant Cuts” To Medicare.  In May 2011, Senator Rubio voted for the Republican budget plan that called “for significant cuts to future Medicare benefits.”  [Vote 77, 5/25/11; The Hill, 5/25/11]

Mandel Said He Was Developing A Plan To Save The Auto Rescue.  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said he is developing a plan to ‘rescue the auto industry.'” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]

  • Mandel: “I’m Not Saying The Bailout Didn’t Work.”  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “‘I’m not saying the bailout didn’t work,’ Mandel said.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]
  • Next Sentence: Mandel Disagreed That Auto Rescue Save The Auto Industry.  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “But Mandel said he ‘respectfully disagreed’ that it saved the American auto industry.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]

Josh Mandel Has Signed the Cut Cap and Balance Pledge [Cut Cap Balance Act.com Senate signers, accessed 11/09/2011]

Politifact: Republican Budget Would Cost Ohio Seniors Over $6,000 A Year More Than Current System.   In May 2011, Politifact wrote “Using CBO projections, the folks at Kaiser did the math, and determined that if a person who turned 65 in 2022 were to remain in the traditional Medicare system, the out-of-pocket costs would be just $5,630 – a full $6,870 less than it would be under the new program.”  Politifact went on to note “In his speech, Tim Ryan said said that those new out-of-pocket costs would amount to $6,000 each year, a bit of less than what the CBO calculated. So although perhaps undersold, Tim Ryan’s claim is accurate with nothing significant missing for an understanding.” [Politifact, 5/25/11]

Center On Budget And Policy Priorities:  Cut, Cap And Balance “Would Inexorably Subject Social Security And Medicare To Deep Reductions.”  According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, proponents of Cut, Cap and Balance “seek to foster an impression that the measure would protect Social Security and Medicare.  Such an impression would not be accurate.  The legislation would inexorably subject Social Security and Medicare to deep reductions.”  [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/16/11]

REMARKS: Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern Denounces Josh Mandel for Opposition to Auto Rescue, Anti-Middle Class Agenda

Unlike Sen. Brown, Mandel Would Have Voted To Let Auto Industry Die, Leaving Nearly 800,000 Ohio Jobs Hanging in the Balance

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A day after Ohio Republicans made Josh Mandel their nominee for U.S. Senate, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern held a press conference call to denounce the absentee Treasurer for opposing the auto rescue championed by Senator Sherrod Brown and for continually aligning himself against Ohio’s middle class.

Please see below for Chairman Redfern’s prepared remarks:

“Unfortunately for the secretly funded special interests backing Josh Mandel, Ohio Republicans are now stuck with a candidate who would have voted to let our auto industry die while nearly 800,000 Ohio jobs hung in the balance.

“There are two things that are clear about Josh Mandel. First, Josh Mandel has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s not on the side of Ohio’s middle class. That’s why he opposed the critical investments championed by Senator Sherrod Brown that rescued the auto industry. If Josh Mandel had his way, there would be no auto comeback in Toledo, no thriving plant in Lordstown where they build the Chevy Cruze, and our state’s auto industry would be devastated.

“Had he been a Senator, Josh Mandel would have voted to let thousands of middle class families lose their jobs.

“And Josh Mandel’s anti middle class agenda doesn’t end with the fact that he would have let the auto industry die. Josh Mandel stood shoulder to shoulder with Governor’s Kasich’s brutal assault on public workers and he refuses to support Senator Brown’s bipartisan bill to crack down on China’s currency manipulation, a practice that has cost Ohio thousands of jobs.

“Secondly, it’s clear that Josh Mandel doesn’t do his job on behalf of Ohio’s taxpayers because he believes the rules don’t apply to him. Mandel has been to zero Board of Deposit meetings despite the fact that billion dollar decisions are made about where to invest Ohio’s tax dollars. Instead, he filed papers to run for Senate almost immediately after his swearing in and began taking out of state fundraising trips weeks into his new job.

“These fundraising trips were initially paid for illegally, and like his 6 month refusal to disclose his finances and his numerous instances of taxpayer funded self-promotion, these trips are one of many ways that Josh Mandel has demonstrated he doesn’t think he has to play by the rules.”

BACKGROUND

Mandel Said He Was Developing A Plan To Save The Auto Rescue.  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, said he is developing a plan to ‘rescue the auto industry.'” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]

  • Mandel: “I’m Not Saying The Bailout Didn’t Work.”  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “‘I’m not saying the bailout didn’t work,’ Mandel said.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]
  • Next Sentence: Mandel Disagreed That Auto Rescue Save The Auto Industry.  The Youngstown Vindicator reported “But Mandel said he ‘respectfully disagreed’ that it saved the American auto industry.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 3/2/12]

Nearly 800,000 Auto Industry Jobs In Ohio.  In January 2012, the Youngstown Vindicator reported “According to a 2010 study by the Center for Automotive Research, more than 792,000 Ohio jobs depend on the auto industry.  That figure includes 120,285 direct jobs, 276,330 indirect jobs and 395,981 spinoff jobs.” [Youngstown Vindicator, 1/20/12]

Ohio Democratic Party Statement on Republican Primary

COLUMBUS – Tonight, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern issued the following statement:

“Tonight Mitt Romney managed to eek out an embarrassingly narrow victory in Ohio and the race came at an extremely high cost to his candidacy. Governor Romney constantly demonstrated that he is out-of-touch with our middle-class families by embracing an extreme, far-right agenda that does not reflect mainstream Ohio. Romney’s constant pandering to the most extreme elements of his party has wounded him among women, moderate and blue-collar voters, without whose support he simply cannot win Ohio in the general election.

“Mitt Romney showed Ohio voters that he is more interested in looking out for the biggest corporations and wealthiest Americans than the needs of middle-class Ohioans. He stood with his party by stating that an employer should be able to deny female employees coverage because of that employer’s beliefs. And he failed to explain why he would have allowed the auto industry – an industry that supports 1 in 8 Ohio jobs – to go bankrupt.

“Should Mitt Romney be his party’s nominee, he will find it difficult to win the support of Ohio voters. From his support of John Kasich’s attack on Ohio workers, to his desire to end Medicare as we know it, to his lack of concern for struggling homeowners, to his tax plan that helps the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class, Ohioans simply won’t buy what Mitt Romney is selling.”

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MEMO: No Matter What Happens, Democrats are the Real Winner of Tonight’s Ohio Primary

FROM: Ohio Democratic Party
TO: Interested Parties
RE: Ohio Republican Presidential Primary
DATE: March 6, 2012

The following memo outlines the impact of the Ohio Republican presidential primary campaign on Democrats’ chances in November and the adverse effect the campaign has had on GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney’s candidacy.

A Race to the Far-Right

Mitt Romney demonstrated throughout his campaign that he is out-of-touch with the Buckeye State, embracing an extreme, far-right agenda that does not reflect mainstream Ohio. Romney is more interested in looking out for the biggest corporations and wealthiest Americans than the needs of middle-class Ohioans, as evidenced by his tax plan that bolsters the wealthy but does little for everyday Ohioans. Romney also wants to allow Wall Street to write its own rules and even opposed Ohio’s own Rich Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

After saying we should allow the American auto industry to go bankrupt, embracing John Kasich’s attack on workers and advocating for a plan that would end Medicare as we know it, Mitt Romney has weakened his standing among independent voters. Moreover, Romney’s war on women has damaged him among female voters. From supporting a policy that allows an employer to deny women coverage because of that employer’s religious belief to his support of a “Personhood” amendment that would ban abortion even if the life of the mother is at risk, Ohio women are fleeing Romney at a fast pace.

Little Enthusiasm for the GOP Frontrunner

Two weeks ago, Governor Romney opened his state headquarters here in Ohio with few supporters and an extreme lack of enthusiasm. In the GOP stronghold of Southwest Ohio, Romney held an event that NBC’s First Read said had “a noticeable lack of energy from the crowd” and “people applauded only sparingly” for Romney. And when Romney won the Ohio GOP straw poll last summer, members of the audience booed.

While Romney’s supporters are barely excited about his candidacy, Democrats are energized and mobilized for President Obama, Senator Sherrod Brown and Democrats up and down the ticket. The Atlantic reported yesterday about a “surge of enthusiasm” among Ohio Democrats due to an improving economy and GOP attacks on women’s rights that have Ohio Democrats “fired up.”

Weak GOP Infrastructure

Real Clear Politics said it best: “You need not look further than [Ohio] to see just how badly Mitt Romney’s vaunted campaign organization lags behind President Obama’s.” Rather than building a strong grassroots organization in Ohio as Democrats are doing, Republican presidential candidates have relied solely on negative television ads. Mitt Romney has carpet-bombed his opponent, with his campaign and his Super PAC spending $4 million on TV and radio ads, and outspending Rick Santorum and his Super PAC 4-to-1.

Campaign Missteps and Embarrassment

From his very first campaign stops in the Buckeye State, Mitt Romney has shown a lack of discipline as a candidate. After embracing John Kasich’s attack on Ohio workers last summer, Mitt Romney came to Greater Cincinnati to headline a phone bank in support of Issue 2. After he left the phone bank, he said that he was “not taking a position” on Issue 2, but in Virginia the next day he said that he “fully supported” John Kasich’s bill. Issue 2 failed by a 62-38 percent margin. Last week, in an interview with the Ohio News Network, Romney was asked about the Blunt-Rubio Amendment, and said, “I’m not for the bill.” An hour later, he backtracked, stating that “of course” he supports the bill.

Mitt Romney also continues to be unable to explain why he turned his back on Ohio’s autoworkers and said that we should let the auto industry go bankrupt. If it were up to Mitt Romney, GM and Chrysler would not be in business today, but because of President Obama, Sen. Sherrod Brown and Democrats, those automakers and their suppliers are creating jobs across Ohio today. Nearly 850,000 jobs are supported by Ohio’s auto industry, so questions about Mitt Romney’s inexplicable stance will continue to dog him in Ohio should he become his Party’s nominee.

The Bottom Line

Whether or not Mitt Romney wins tonight’s Ohio primary, the campaign here has come at a high cost for him. Should he become his Party’s nominee, he will be damaged by his out-of-touch nature and the extreme, far-right policies he has embraced. He has put himself in an extremely weak position among blue-collar, independent and women voters – key voting blocs in the Buckeye State.

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Ohio Women Leaders Decry Mitt Romney’s War on Women Romney Flip-Flops in Ohio, Says Any Employer Should Be Able to Deny Women Health Coverage Because of that Employer’s Beliefs

Audio from today’s conference call can be accessed here.

COLUMBUS – Ohio women leaders joined together today decrying Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s war on women, evidenced by his support for the “Blunt Amendment” – a measure that would allow any employer to deny female employees coverage because of that employer’s beliefs.

Yesterday, after telling the Ohio News Network’s Jim Heath that he opposed the Blunt Amendment, Mitt Romney reversed himself, saying that he “of course” supports the amendment. Romney’s support for the Blunt Amendment is the latest demonstration that he is out-of-touch with Ohio women

U.S. Congresswoman Betty Sutton, who was unable to join the call today due to congressional obligations, said Romney sees women’s health as a political wedge issue – a way to score points.

“Women’s health is a personal and private issue, not a political opportunity for Mitt Romney,” said Sutton. “If Mitt Romney finally decides on a consistent position on this issue, I hope he decides to stand on the side of women.”

State Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) said the Blunt Amendment is only the most recent example of how Mitt Romney and the Republican Party have launched a war on women.

“This isn’t Romney’s first flip-flop when it comes to women, and it isn’t the first time he’s ended up on the wrong side. In fact, every time Romney has flip-flopped on a women’s issue, he’s ended up on the wrong side,” Clyde said. “Romney used to be pro-choice. When he was running for governor of Massachusetts, he said he would “preserve and protect a women’s right to choose. Our reproductive health is an intensely personal and private issue between us, our families and our doctors. By embracing extreme policies like the Blunt Amendment, Romney is trying to impose his will on women across the country. That would have real-life consequences for millions of women.”

Stating that the Blunt Amendment doesn’t just apply to contraceptive coverage, but to any aspect of health care an employer chooses like mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, maternity care, HIV/AIDS treatment, Nan Whaley, Dayton City Commissioner said Romney won’t find much support among Ohio’s women for his latest position on this seriously concerning policy.

“For decisions critical to women’s health, Mitt Romney and the Blunt Amendment he supports would take them away from women and give them to their bosses,” said Whaley. “This is more extreme than even what the Catholic Church is calling for. A recent poll showed that less than a third of Ohio women have a favorable opinion of Romney – and taking the wrong side in his party’s war on women isn’t going to help him.”

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern closed the conference call today pointing to Romney’s support of an amendment to the Massachusetts constitution similar to the so-called “Personhood amendment” that defines life as beginning at the moment of conception, which right-leaning groups in Ohio are collecting signatures to place on Ohio’s ballot this November.

“This is an extreme and radical step, even for Mitt Romney. Personhood would outlaw many forms of birth control, including IUDs and morning-after pills. A “personhood amendment” would ban all abortions – even if a woman is a victim of rape or incest or if she would die otherwise. Most Ohioans, including people on both sides of the abortion issue, see this as an extreme and radical step. It’s time Romney and the rest of the Republican Party ended the war on women they’ve started.”

Mitt Romney Admits Comments About His Wealth Hurt Campaign

At a press availability in Michigan on Tuesday morning, Mitt Romney admitted that his campaign has been wounded by some of his comments in recent days that had the unintended effect of highlighting his wealth.

During a stop at his campaign headquarters in Livonia, Mich., a reporter asked Romney whether he realized that comments accentuating his wealth were hurting his campaign.

“Yes. Next question,” Romney simply stated.

In just the past week, Romney has made several statements that reinforce the impression that he, as a multi-millionaire, is out of touch with the economic concerns of working Americans — a perception that the Obama campaign and his Republican opponents have been trying to emphasize.

On Friday, Romney said his wife drives “a couple of Cadillacs.”

During a visit to Florida’s Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, Romney was asked whether he follows racing.

“Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have some friends who are NASCAR team owners,” he replied.

He also approached a group of fans wearing plastic ponchos and said, “I like those fancy raincoats you bought. Really sprung for the big bucks.”

Paid for and authorized by the Ohio Democratic Party, not authorized by any federal candidate or campaign committee. Chris Redfern, Chairman, 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, Ohio 43215.